Monday, April 20, 2009

Rumors of global warming premature?

There was a period of cold temperatures--referred to as 'the little ice age'--in the mid 17th century. [1]  At the same time, the sun  had became exceptionally quiet in terms of sunspot activity.  Known as the "Maunder Minimum", the number of sunspots observed over a 70-year period were reduced by three orders of magnitude. [2]

Now we are again observing what may become a protracted quiet period for the sun.  In May, 2006, sunspot activity had fallen to a exceptionally low level. [2]   This period, marked by sporadic or no activity, has persisted into April of this year. [3, 4, 5]

So, with the current solar cycle off to a slow start and the next cycle forecasted to be weaker yet [6] , it seems the prudent course of action vis-a-vis global warming is to sit tight and do nothing rash.

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